Sunday, June 19, 2011

Snicks-inspired workplace bribery

The wedding season in the Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg Genetics & Metabolism Program is swiftly approaching.  Hubs and I are leading the pack in the first of four weddings in the department, with Jess & Kyle following a week later.  What does any of this have to do with food?  Well, Hubs and I will be looking after the always-energetic Snickers during her parents' absence.  Aside from the familiar chocolate bar association, when I hear her nickname, "Snicks", I think of Snickerdoodles.

I have some extremely fond memories of these simple-but-delicious cookies.  They were part of Aunt Mary Jane's staple cookie jar lineup.  I never understood why they were called snickerdoodles... after all, they don't have Snickers bars in them (Wikipedia offers a history lesson here).  Regardless, they've always had a special place in my heart, even if they ARE chocolate-free!

As with most cookies I've made, I used these as some form of bribery at work.  Cathy is our incredible prenatal secretary, who books my appointments, transcribes my letters, and generally makes sure that I have everything I need for my appointments (y'know, so it looks like I know what I'm doing when I see patients!)  I asked her to do me a quick favour via email, to which she replied (much like my father), "No problemo.  $20."  I asked if I could pay her in cookies instead... apparently, that's the preferred currency in the office for favours.  So, while thinking of a canine member of the department, I decided to Google my way to a new snickerdoodle recipe. 

Up close and personal with the sweet cinnamon coating that elevates these from a plain sugar cookie to something special.
 What makes this recipe different?  After all, I do have one kicking around on a creased, stained, aged index card.  Anyone who's seen a recipe for these might have noticed: they often call for cream of tartar.  This is basically a powdered form of acid (potassium bitartrate), meant to react with baking soda to provide leavening.  These days, it's already included in baking powder.  Admittedly, adding your acid and base separately allows you to adjust the ratios of each component... but I honestly can't be bothered to buy a tiny $5 tin of the stuff.  So, I selected this recipe based on its use of baking soda (which costs significantly less for significantly more.  I can be frugal!)  Also: instructional video!  Hooray!  These really are fail-proof.  Much thanks to the Joy of Baking website!

I ALMOST forgot to take pictures of the finished product before bringing them to work.
I have to admit, I had one tiny snafu with these... I didn't hear the timer go for the first batch, which made them a little more "caramelized" than the rest of the cookies (NOT burnt.  Just... crunchy).  Luckily, Dr. Mhanni seemed to really enjoy them... so much so that he suggested I routinely ignore the oven timer and make a whole batch of overly browned biscuits.  Of course, he'll eat just about anything, so I think I'll stick to the intended chewy-on-the-inside texture.

Well this isn't snickerdoodle dough... looks like mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Ice cream sandwiches AGAIN?  Maybe not...
My tradition of using cookies as peacekeeping devices at work continued with what proved to be a relatively unapplicable meeting.  I don't see children in clinic, so I had no use for an hour tutorial on how to order pediatric imaging studies.  Regardless, the meeting was marked as "mandatory", so like a good employee (who exceeded expectations on her first performance review, yay!), I attended.  Our old mantra, though, reared its head.  If I had to sit through a presentation, I was going to keep it fun with some cookies.

...but seriously, this looks more like ice cream than cookie dough.  What gives?
I had found some mint chocolate chips in Walmart purely by chance, and bought them to play around with.  Craving my favourite type of ice cream, I decided to take my standard Anna Olsen chocolate chip cookie recipe, and doctor it up with a few drops of green food colouring, a small splash of peppermint extract, and my random find.  The result?  Delicious!  Everyone seemed to enjoy them (so much so that I didn't get a shot of the finished product).  The only slightly negative comment was the dough colour... more than one person wondered if the cookies had gone moldy.  Nope.  I have slightly higher kitchen standards than that!!

Hunting for new recipes to use to her advantage in the workplace (suggestions welcome!)

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